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A Joint Program of The Advocates’ Society
and Osgoode Professional Development

Take your written advocacy skills to a new level with:

  • Expert instruction on how to improve written argument from a team of trial and appellate judges, writing professionals and top legal practitioners
  • Small “hands-on” breakout groups with a maximum of eight participants
  • Individual feedback and critique of your writing sample
  • Valuable tips you can use to immediately improve the precision, strength and persuasiveness of all your legal writing
  • Advice on how best to engage the reader who counts ‒ the judge
  • Insight from a panel of judges on what works and what to avoid


Special Address

  • Bryan Finlay Q.C., WeirFoulds LLP

Lead Instructor

  • Stephen V. Armstrong, Armstrong Talent Development

Featured Speaker

  • Megan Shortreed, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP



  • The Hon. Justice Peter M.S. Bryson, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal
  • The Hon. Justice Barbara A. Conway, Superior Court of Justice
  • The Hon. Justice David L. Corbett, Superior Court of Justice
  • The Hon. Justice J. Michal Fairburn, Court of Appeal for Ontario
  • The Hon. Justice John B. Laskin, Federal Court of Appeal
  • The Hon. Justice Peter D. Lauwers, Court of Appeal for Ontario
  • The Hon. Justice Michael A. Penny, Superior Court of Justice
  • The Hon. Justice Robyn M. Ryan Bell, Superior Court of Justice
  • The Hon. Justice Katherine M. van Rensburg, Court of Appeal for Ontario


  • Frank Au, Crown Law Office – Criminal, Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Jonathan Bell, Bennett Jones LLP
  • Gerald Chan, Stockwoods LLP
  • Shantona Chaudhury, Pape Barristers Professional Corporation
  • Falguni Debnath, Court of Appeal for Ontario
  • Andrea Laing, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP
  • Paul Michell, Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP
  • Julia Tremain, Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation


  • Antonella Ceddia, City of Toronto Legal Services
  • Professor Greig Henderson, University of Toronto Department of English
  • Dr. Barbara Morris, Humber College
  • Dr. Craig Patterson, Humber College
  • Howard C. Rubel, Heller, Rubel Barristers
  • Dr. Melanie Stevenson, Writing & Rhetoric and Engineering Communication Programs, University of Toronto
  • Prof. Cheryl Suzack, University of Toronto, Department of English
  • Katherine Vitale Lopez, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Planning Committee

  • Steven V. Armstrong, Armstrong Talent Development
  • Jane Griesdorf, The Writing Consultants
  • Professor Greig Henderson, University of Toronto Department of English
  • Justice Wendy M. Matheson, Superior Court of Justice
  • Justice Robyn M. Ryan Bell, Superior Court of Justice
  • Margaret Waddell, Waddell Philips Professional Corporation


Mandatory Writing Sample

By September 19, 2019, you MUST:

a) Mail one (1) copy of a sample of your legal writing to:

Osgoode Professional Development
1 Dundas St. West, 26th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 1Z3
Attention: Anita Leung

b) AND email writtenadvocacy@osgoode.yorku.ca a copy of the same sample. Please save the file as your name.


  • Given the structure of the program, we recommend that you submit a factum. A factum on behalf of the applicant, appellant or moving party is preferred, but if necessary, a respondent’s factum is acceptable.
  • If you have not yet written a factum, a written argument or other court submission is also acceptable.
  • Articles and/or other written legal and non-legal documents are not acceptable.
  • It is imperative that the sample not relate to matters currently before the courts – no exceptions.
  • Please email writtenadvocacy@osgoode.yorku.ca if you have any questions or concerns about your writing sample.


  • The writing sample should be stapled (not bound).
  • Your name MUST BE clearly marked on the front page of the sample.
  • Do not include supplementary documentation and appendices.
  • Participants who use computers to draft may wish to bring their laptop computers to use during the workshop. Ensure your writing sample is preloaded on your computer and if possible, bring a USB key to save your edited sample during the program.
  • Do not include supplementary documentation and appendices.


Fees include attendance, program materials, lunch and break refreshments. Please inquire about financial assistance.

Justice Marvin Catzman Bursary Fund

This bursary was created in memory of Justice Catzman, whose commitment to improving legal writing was underscored by his participation in the Written Advocacy program. It provides a candidate who would not otherwise be able to attend the program due to financial constraints, full admission to the program.
To apply, send a CV, a cover letter, and a copy of your previous year’s tax return by September 4, 2019 to:

Gail Geronimo
Program Lawyer
Osgoode Professional Development
1 Dundas Street W. 26th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 1Z3

Program Changes

We will make every effort to present the program as advertised, but it may be necessary to change the date, location, speakers or content with little or no notice. In the event of program cancellation, York University and Osgoode Hall Law School’s liability is limited to reimbursement of paid fees.

Cancellations and Substitutions

Substitutions of participants is permitted with payment of a $150 administration fee per substitution. For participant substitution requests two weeks or less prior to the program, please contact Gail Geronimo at ggeronimo@osgoode.yorku.ca. Substitutes must contact Osgoode Professional Development to ensure a writing sample is submitted. Cancellations received in writing prior to October 3, 2019 will receive a full refund (less $150 administrative fee). No other refund is available. Non-attendance at all or part of the program does not entitle a participant to a refund or a credit.


Have questions? Read our FAQs.

Program Details

Questions on program registration?
Please contact the Registration Team at osgoodepd@osgoode.yorku.ca

Questions on the program content?
Please contact the Program Lawyer:
Gail Geronimo at ggeronimo@osgoode.yorku.ca

Program Details

Date & Time

Day 1
October 18, 2019
8:30 a.m. - 5:45 p.m.

Day 2
October 19, 2019

9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


Osgoode Professional Development Centre,
1 Dundas St. W., 26th Floor Toronto, ON

Fee per Delegate

$1,795 plus HST

Registration for this program is closed.

Eligible CPD Credit Hours


Who Should Attend

  • Litigation lawyers at all levels of experience and practice areas
  • In-house counsel
  • Sole practitioners
  • Crown attorneys
  • Criminal defence lawyers
  • Government counsel
  • Articling students

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“An amazing opportunity to obtain hands-on, practical advice from members of the judiciary and leading practitioners.”

Matthew Huys
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Hotels & Parking

If you require accommodations in downtown Toronto, OsgoodePD has arranged Corporate Rates with several hotels within walking distance of our downtown conference centre.

Sponsor A Program

Looking for an innovative way to market your firm’s products or services?

Consider sponsoring an OsgoodePD Continuing Legal Education program or event.